Typical read time: 4 minutes
From the past to nowadays, “City” has been one of the most important themes for artistic creations, including poetry. Let us start reading this post by two samples:
Rumi (1207 – 1273) says:
Said a beloved to her lover, my dear
You have seen many cities in exile
So which city is better among all?
Said the city where the beloved is there!
Souad Sabah (a Kuwaiti economist, writer, and poet -born 1942) says:
All cities in the world,
in the map of geography
I think they are imaginary points
except for one of them,
The city where I fell in love with you
The city that became my homeland after you!
In addition, the lovely poetic view of the “city” is examined from other perspectives.
The UN General Assembly designated October 31 as World Cities Day.
The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities addressing challenges of urbanization and contribute to sustainable urban development around the world.
The importance of the subject:
Until 2009, more people lived in rural areas than in urban areas. Today, around 55% of the world’s population lives in towns and cities, with the level of urbanization projected to reach almost 70% by 2050. Much of the growth in urban populations will occur in Asia and Africa, especially in China, India, and Nigeria, where the fertility rates remain high.
Like migration, urbanization requires effective management by national and local authorities. Currently, cities occupy less than 2% of the world’s total land but produce 80% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and over 70% of carbon emissions. The speed and scale of urbanization present challenges in ensuring the availability of adequate housing, infrastructure, transportation, and conflict and violence. Nearly one billion people are classified as “urban poor” and mostly live in informal urban settlements.
At the same time, more significant efforts are required to ensure that those living in rural areas are not left behind, including access to the digital economy and society. Small-hold farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous peoples play a vital role in producing our food and protecting our natural capital.
Some Facts and figures
- Half of humanity– 3.5 billion people– lives in cities today, and 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030.
- 95% of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in the developing world
- 828 million people live in slums today, and most of them are found in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.
- The world’s cities occupy just 3% of the Earth’s land but account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions.
- Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on freshwater supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.
- Cities account for between 60 and 80% of energy consumption and generate as much as 70% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions
- 90% of urban growth is forecasted to happen in Asia and Africa in the next 30 years.
- By 2050, 70% of the world population is predicted to live in urban settlements.
How do we prepare for the doubling of the global urban population by 2050? By dramatically rethinking urbanism and its governance. That means designing cities for people, not cars; allowing everyone access to urban opportunities; investing in resource-efficient buildings, transport, energy, water, and waste systems; and enabling cities to experiment and learn from each other.
These are among the conclusions of an upcoming report from the International Resource Panel, the most authoritative scientific forum for scientists and experts working on natural resource management.
Because of the importance of this issue, one of the 11 goals of UN SDGs is: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
Cities are on the front line of coping with the pandemic and its lasting impacts. Across the globe, COVID-19 is threatening cities and communities, endangering public health and the economy, and the fabric of society.
UN-Habitat, the UN agency for housing and urban development, is working with national and local governments to help them prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN-Habitat COVID-19 Response Plan aims to:
- Support local governments and community-driven solutions in informal settlements
- Provide urban data, evidence-based mapping, and knowledge for informed decision
- Mitigate economic impact and initiate recovery
UN-Habitat’s COVID-19 Policy and Programme Framework guides global, regional, and country-level action.
The UN Economic Commission for Africa has proposed specific support to city governments to mitigate and respond to the economic effects of COVID-19. Africa’s cities account for more than 50% of the region’s GDP, and COVID-19 is likely to hit African cities hard, with sharp declines in productivity, jobs, and revenues.
Cities and Climate-related Disasters
Cities worldwide are increasingly suffering the effects of climate-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, sea-level rise, heat waves, landslides, and storms. At least 130 port cities with over one million inhabitants are expected to be affected by coastal flooding, and the one billion people in informal urban settlements are particularly at risk.
Creating more sustainable, climate-resilient societies involves addressing a range of issues, including poverty reduction, ensuring basic services, livelihoods, the provision of accessible, affordable, and adequate housing, investing in infrastructure, upgrading informal settlements, and managing ecosystems. Successful, well-governed cities significantly reduce climate-related risks for their populations.
More information is available here: